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"Our ultimate competition is with ourselves. That is what my uncle told me when I would visit him as a young boy... My uncle, the man the world knows as Kaga the Chairman, has decided that although America is a young country, we now possess the proper palate to host our own Iron Chef competition, an American celebration of the world's high art of cuisine."

Recaps by Chico Alexander, GSNN


FACT FILE:

Host ("The Chairman"):
Mark Dacascos
Culinary Commentator: Alton Brown
Iron Chefs: Mario Batali, Bobby Flay, Masaharu Morimoto
Kitchen Reporter: Kevin Brauch
Creator: Keiichi Tanaka (based upon "Ryori no Tetsujin/Iron Chef")
EP: Steve Kroopnick
Packager: Triage Entertainment, Fuji Television Network, Food Network
Airs: Sundays at 9p ET on Food Network


Copyright Statement
ALL ORIGINAL MATERIAL COPYRIGHT 1999-2005 GAMESHOWNEWSNET.COM. All rights reserved.

No infringement of copyright is intended by these fan pages; production companies of shows this site covers retain all rights to the sounds, images, and information contained herein. No challenge to copyright is implied. 

Web design by Jason Elliott. Logo by Chico Alexander. 

"Donna vs. Morimoto: Battle Scallop" - March 6

Editor's Note: What follows is a televised-move-by-televised-move recap. Because a sixty-minute battle, intro, and judgment has to be edited into 45 minutes of airtime, not every move will be shown.

The Challenger: Roberto Donna of Torino, Italy. He came to America with a dream of becoming a restauranteur, and today, his restaurant, Galileo in Washington, DC, is among the 20 greatest in the world by the President of Italy. Today, he challenges the OG of the ICs, Masaharu Morimoto. Coming off of a loss in Kitchen Stadium America, he's pulling no stops. Gentlemen... prepare for battle.

The Crib Sheet:
MORIMOTO
Troy Thompson & Ariki Omae, sous-chefs
VS DONNA
Daniele Catalani, sous-chef
21 years EXPERIENCE 20 years
Neo-Japanese COOKING STYLE Italian
66-10 BATTLE RECORD Challenger

The Theme Ingredient: Sea scallops and bay scallops, shelled and unshelled.

The Rules: Each chef must create a five-course meal, with each course utilizing the theme ingredient, within 60 minutes. The judges will score the dishes on a 20-point scale: 10 points taste, 5 points plating and presentation, 5 points creativity and use of ingredient. The chef who best articulates the theme ingredient through his dishes wins.

The words of the Chairman's dear uncle.... "Allez cuisine!"

The Battle: Alton calls both chefs expert artists in regard to the ingredient, and gives Morimoto the advantage in that he has been here 76 times prior. The challenger has a white truffle in rice to keep it fresh, while Morimoto is shucking his own truffles. It looks like Donna is making pasta, while garbanzos are being cooked.

Morimoto is preparing daikon for stewing. "I'm not cooking for the judges. I'm not cooking for the challengers. I'm cooking for myself. My style." As for Donna, "I prepare myself thinking that I'm not coming to compete against the Iron Chef. I'm coming to cook and to have fun." This as he's making a polenta.

Sous-chef Omae is preparing uni while Donna is making porcini, while turnips are being boiled. Morimoto is hollowing out some onions with an oyster knife while Omae is working some foie gras. Donna is sauteing some vegetables while Morimoto is cutting avocado and making rice. Sea scallops are being poached in some broth while scallops are being cooked with mirin. And Donna gets a pumpkin while saving roe sacs for "a surprise dish". Meanwhile, the onions on Donna's side get sweet sausages with them. Alton notes the use of kosher salt. "Good Eats" fans will know why.

Kevin snipes some yuzu from Morimoto's side, as Omae is grating the zest. Morimoto himself is wrapping scallops in bacon. Those go into the hollowed-out onion. Finely chopped scallops next. Donna is scarving butternuts, while his sous-chefs are a bit disoriented. Donna takes some time to sprinkle salt over on Morimoto's side. It causes bad luck, he says. And maybe it worked, as Morimoto and Troy are having a bit of issue with the stove.

The Judges: Victoria Riccardi (author: "Untangling My Chopsticks"): "I'm seeing much more traditional uses with Donna."
Anderson Cooper (anchor/host, "Anderson Cooper 360"): "There're so many different blends of flavors. This is fantastic."
Akiko Katayama (culinary journalist, Food Arts Magazine - Japan): "I think Mr. Morimoto is using half-Japanese, half-American, very post-fusion. I'm looking forward to the balance of textures."

Back to Battle: Morimoto cuts some scallops finely while Daniele cuts eggs and Donna gets some pumpkin on his shirt. He takes time to clean it. Half of cooking good is looking good. Morimoto slices matsutake mushrooms, while Donna adds the butternut to the sausage. Morimoto is breading truffles for... something.

"Thirty minutes have elapsed." Morimoto is using the scallop mousse he prepared as a base for noodles in konbu broth. Donna is using the same thing. Morimoto makes a souffle in a ring mould. One of Donna's sous-chefs is making a turnip tower with mozzarella.

Meanwhile, Morimoto is heating pots for a tofu steaming. He's... I believe he's blessing the nagari (coagulant for tofu). He's also making the souffle, all with 25 minutes left.

And the secret's out, as Donna prepares an eggsac ice cream in the tradition of Iron Chef Sakai's trout ice cream. Also a spring roll on Omae's plates. Morimoto is preparing a bento box. Historically, Morimoto has always liked to overprepare. Donna is slicing scallops for a carpaccio. Troy looks to be preparing a foie-gras mousse.

The turnip towers are coming together while the polenta is coming out for an egg dish. Morimoto cooked through the daikon for a "sweet dish."

Semi-educational moment: sea scallops have eyes around the shell that protect them from predators. The muscle that holds the two shells together is what we eat. The adductor muscle of bay scallops are the same, only smaller.

"Fifteen minutes to go." The garbanzos become a paste, while Morimoto's scallop chunky mousse goes into the bento box, while his bacon onions meet direct flame. The tofu is coming together. Pasta rolling on Donna's side. Morimoto... very happy with the 10 minutes remaining as he goes into a bit of a shuffle. Daikon rings are done and foie-gras is being seared, but he's most concerned with the tofu.

"And Chef Donna has gone mad" with the flour. No, seriously... they're nuts on both sides. Ice cream is being made by Donna. Sauce made by Morimoto with teriyaki and truffle butter. The tofu is poured over the mousse while sweet potatoes join fried scallop chips.

And we have a glue gun! This for the eggs that Donna prepared. Morimoto has cut his onions in half. The tofu is out as well and plating has begun. the stuffed onion gets the teriyaki/truffle butter sauce while the bento box is finished. Three on the clock and Morimoto is almost done with the souffle. The ravioli is done, but the cooking, while Donna is basically doing the sashimi thing. Donna is still rushing to get his five dishes done! Even with a minute to go.

The souffle is done while Donna is making scallops. There's still food cooking with 15 to go! 10! "Five seconds! Three! Two! One! Time's up." It's over! Chef Donna has not completed his five-dish requirement! This is going to make for interesting judgment.

Kevin asks Morimoto how he pressed himself to make such creative dishes. "Who knows?" Meanwhile, Donna only completed TWO of his dishes.

Judgment (Donna): "We pushed and we pushed. But we have two dishes that we want to reflect the style we prepare in our kitchen." Dishes: Scallop Carpaccio with Chickpea Puree, Sauteed Bay Scallops with Scrambled Eggs

Victoria and Akiko think the first dish is overwhelming, while Anderson likes it. Akiko likes the texture of the scallops, but wishes the flavor was more concentrated with the eggs. Victoria likes the contrasting flavors. Donna hopes for a grudge match against Morimoto in the near future.

Judgment (Morimoto): "My main theme was a fusion of sweetness. We're not talking about sweetness of sugary things, but natural sweetness." Dishes: Bento Box, Sea Scallop & Sea Urchin Souffle, Homemade Tofu with Scallop Mousse, Scallop Chowder, Scallops with Sweet Onions and Daikon

Anderson thinks the presentation of the bento box is akin to a Christmas surprise. Victoria thought the spring roll was flabby. Akiko was looking for integration, and she found it with the souffle. Victoria and Anderson didn't taste the scallop in the tofu. All judges are in agreement with the chowder and the onion in their lightness and the way Morimoto mixes up flavors.

And now, whose cuisine reigns supreme? The verdict....
 
  CHALLENGER IRON CHEF
Taste 15 22
Plating 9 13
Originality 9 15

... 50-33 in favor of Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto. Time was a factor and that costs the challenger the win. Donna stomachs a powerful loss as Morimoto has avenged his earlier loss. This isn't the last we've seen of either, I bet. Until next time, we bid you good eating.

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